Cash for trash will make New Zealand greener

Denise Roche

This has four key components:

Introducing refunds on drinking containers.

Banning the use of single-use plastic bags by 2020.

Reducing plastic packaging and utensils.

Commit to a zero waste Aotearoa.

We want to work with communities all over New Zealand to turn trash into cash, which will clean up our beaches and reduce the amount of plastic harming our oceans, birds and marine life.

One of the main reasons that people come to New Zealand to live, work, study and visit is because of the beauty of our environments.

But imagine taking a relative who has travelled all the way from India or the United States of America to a beautiful beach or park – only to find it polluted with litter – plastic straws, plastic bags, glass bottles.

Refunds on drink containers

Introducing refunds on drinking containers is a common-sense idea that has worked overseas to reduce the amount of empty drink containers littering the ground and the amount going to landfill. Rather than ending up being wasted at a landfill or cluttering up our oceans and beaches, we can turn trash to cash by adding a 10c container deposit for bottles and cans.

This will make them more likely to be recycled by adding a value to them – and help fund community clean-up groups at the same time.

Ban on plastic bags

We will ban single-use plastic bags by 2020 – the end of our first term in Government.

India led the world in 2012 by banning the production of lightweight plastic bags.

Because the people of India know what the Chinese, Italian, French and other countries already know – that plastic bags are bad for the environment, dangerous to animals and are a threat to a clean food supply.

We will start by with a 20-cent plastic bag levy immediately in government with 15 cents going to community groups to fund clean-ups and 5 cents going to research and development into alternatives.

Unnecessary packaging

There is too much unnecessary packaging in our grocery shelves.

As the Green Party Waste Spokesperson. I have been sent so many stories of things like a single apple wrapped in airtight plastic packaging.

Plastic cups, plates and other disposable plastics are also completely unnecessary when we have much more sustainable alternatives available.

We will declare them a priority product and bring them under mandatory product stewardship – meaning that we set targets for reduction and price the cost of their disposal and recycling. This will reflect what the actual cost of the product is – on our environments and communities and assist in the development of alternatives.

Zero Waste by 2050

Last but not the least, we are committed to a Zero Waste Aotearoa by 2050, the same year we have committed to going carbon neutral.

This means there will be zero-waste going to landfill with everything being recycled or reused or repurposed to something else.

This will involve transforming the way we do things – but the Green Party has never been afraid of doing whatever it takes to protect our environment and people.

Dennis Roche is Member of Parliament on Greens’ List and the Party’s Immigration and Ethnic Communities Spokeswoman.

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